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Monday, November 28, 2022

11 oathkeepers charged with mutinous conspiracy to obstruct January 6 transfer of power

11 oathkeepers charged with mutinous conspiracy to obstruct January 6 transfer of power

Defense counsel calls the indictment a paraphrase of false accusations and “malicious prosecution”.

On January 12, a D.C. federal grand jury indicted eleven members of the Oath Keepers, including the group’s founder Stuart Rhodes, of an alleged “rebellious conspiracy” to attack the U.S. Capitol and prevent the approval of the electoral vote. from the 2020 presidential election

The indictment, which was uncovered Jan. 13, brings the first allegations related to Jan. 6, 2021, against 56-year-old Elmer Stuart Rhodes III of Granbury, Texas; and Edward Vallejo, 63, from Phoenix. Rhodes is charged with sedition and four other charges; Vallejo is charged with sedition and three more counts.

This is the first federal indictment, filed Jan. 6, for sedition. If convicted, the maximum prison term is 20 years.

Rhodes is the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, a nationwide group of current and former military, law enforcement, and first responders who seek to protect and preserve constitutional rights based on an oath they have taken to protect the United States from “all enemies.” foreign and domestic.

The indictment includes new charges against nine defendants previously indicted on January 6: Thomas Caldwell, 67, of Berryville, Virginia; Joseph Hackett, 51, from Sarasota, Florida; Kenneth Harrelson, 41, from Titusville, Florida; Joshua James, 34, from Araba, Alabama; Kelly Meggs, 52, from Dunnellon, Florida; Roberto Minuta, 37, from Prosper, Texas; David Mershel, 44, from Punta Gorda, Florida; Brian Ulrich, 44, from Guyton, Georgia; and Jessica Watkins, 39, from Woodstock, Ohio.

In addition to their previous charges, the defendants are charged with sedition and other offenses on 6 January. According to the indictment, other charges include destruction of government property, civil unrest, falsification of documents or legal proceedings, and conspiracy to prevent an officer from performing any duties.

Protesters walk in the Rotunda after the breach of the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Jonathon Moseley, a Washington lawyer who represents Meggs in his criminal case and Rhoads in his upcoming appearance before a House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol violation, criticized the indictment as a publicity stunt.

“This is just an embellishment of existing public relations facts,” Moseley told The Epoch Times in a statement. “Faced with criticism from leading Democrats for not supporting their left-wing narrative, prosecutors have just put a new label on false accusations already made. But I see no evidence to support the new accusations.

“Moreover, the US Attorney and his prosecutors know they are lying. From March to May 2021, they knew that every accusation they made was a lie,” he said. “We have documents. We have proof. They know that we know that this prosecution is a complete lie. And yet they are moving forward with the prosecutor’s misconduct.”

William Miller, a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, declined to comment on Moseley’s claims.

“We don’t usually comment on cases other than what’s been filed or sued,” Miller said.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement that eight other oath-keepers previously charged in the Jan. 6 sweeping investigation are defendants in two related cases.

In one of these cases, charges were brought against 49-year-old James Beaks of Orlando, Florida; Donovan Crawl, 51, from Cable, Ohio; William Isaacs, 22, from Kissimmee, Florida; Connie Meggs, 60, from Dunnellon, Florida; Sandra Parker, 63, and Bernie Parker, 71, from Morrow, Ohio; and Laura Steele, 53, from Thomasville, North Carolina. The third case involves allegations against 57-year-old Jonathan Walden of Birmingham, Alabama.

The 19 defendants named in the three indictments are charged with corrupt obstruction of official proceedings. Eighteen of the 19 defendants are charged with conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings and conspiracy to prevent a United States officer from performing his duties. Eleven of the 19 are charged with sedition.

The first indictment states that after the November 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes conspired with other defendants to “oppose by force” the transfer of presidential power to Joseph Biden Jr. from Donald Trump. The group communicated via encrypted messaging apps to lay out plans to travel to Washington to validate Electoral College votes on January 6.

Capitol Clash
The group clashes with law enforcement officers near the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

Rhodes and several alleged associates planned to bring weapons to support the operation, while others were organized into teams trained in paramilitary tactics, according to the indictment. The groups planned to bring equipment with them, including knives, clubs, camouflage uniforms, tactical vests with protective plates, helmets, eye protection and radio equipment.

According to a Justice Department summary of the alleged plot, at approximately 2:30 p.m. on January 6—30 minutes after protesters and rioters broke into the Capitol Building—a group of Oathkeepers moved in a “stack” east of the Capitol. steps and “joined the crowd and made his way to the Capitol”. A stack is a military-style tactical formation used to infiltrate buildings.

Later, the second group formed another stack and walked from the west to east side of the Capitol, climbed the stairs and entered the building, the Justice Department said in a statement. Other oath-keepers remained outside the city as part of the Rapid Response Force (QRF) teams “ready to move firearms and other weapons to Washington, D.C., to support operations aimed at using force to stop the legitimate transfer of presidential power,” it said. Ministry of Justice. says in the statement.

Moseley suggested that the indictment was nothing more than a repetition of previous accusations.

“I’m looking forward to having a drink on Kelly Meggs’ new yacht following the civil lawsuits for malicious harassment,” he said.

Moseley said he was on the phone with Rhodes discussing his upcoming appearance before the Special Commission on the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol when the FBI called Rhodes.

“He connected me to the call and I introduced myself as his lawyer. The FBI special agent said they were outside and he needed to come out with his hands up in order to be arrested,” Moseley told The Epoch Times. Moseley said he stayed on the line for 10 minutes “before they hung up.”

Joseph M. Hanneman

To follow

Joseph Hanneman is a Epoch Times reporter covering events in Wisconsin. His work has been published in the Catholic World Report, Racine Journal Times, Wisconsin State Journal, and Chicago Tribune over a nearly 40-year career. Contact him at: [email protected]

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